Book Club

Welcome to our Book Club. We’ll be featuring recommended countryside and nature-related books on this page for some reading inspiration.

We asked our members and supporters what you’ve been reading and enjoying during lockdown, and you sent us some great recommendations. Grab yourself a cuppa and have a look at our recommended reads.

Wilding: the Return of Nature to a British Farm by Isabella Tree

Our Chair Patricia Broadfoot’s review of this lovely book:

‘Have you ever wondered what would happen to a large country estate if its owners stopped farming it? Well wonder no more – in this book Isabella Tree (so appropriately named for this subject), tells all. In 2000, she and her husband, Charlie, were faced with the stark fact that they were farming their thousand plus acre estate in Sussex at a loss. Despite a family farming tradition stretching back several centuries, they made the hugely difficult decision to hand the estate back to Mother Nature.

The book is the story of their extraordinary journey of ‘re-wilding’ since that time. Isabella doesn’t pull her punches. She describes the agonies of parting with their cherished pedigree herd of cows built up over generations; the acute financial challenges; the disputes with neighbours shocked at the ruination of apparently good farming land and the endless battles with an arcane bureaucracy apparently incapable of making decisions.

But the bravery of the Trees is amply rewarded by the extraordinary resurrection of nature that follows the decision to stop farming. Turtle doves and nightingales; purple emperor butterflies, beetles, bats and boars are just a few of the vanished species that return to the estate in unprecedented numbers.

It is an uplifting story and one that should give all of us hope for our beleaguered planet. Nature can and will recover if we give it the chance. If you’re looking for an informative, well-researched and beautifully-written book for someone’s Christmas present, look no further. Here is a celebration of the magic of our countryside that is guaranteed to cheer even the darkest day.’

The Orchid Hunter: A Young Botanist’s Search for Happiness by Leif Bersweden

A great account of Leif’s hunt for 52 species of orchid. What Leif doesn’t know about orchids is not worth knowing.

 

 

 

 

 

Few and Far Between: On the Trail of Britain’s Rarest Animals by Charlie Elder

A wonderful tour (literally) of Britain’s rarest creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

One especially resonant for Gloucestershire.

 

 

 

 

 

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize, this novel is about environmental activism, climate change, and the amazing beauty and power of trees. According to the author Ann Patchet “the best novel ever written about trees.”

 

 

 

 

 

Where The Crawdads sing by Delia Owens

The landscape and wildlife are as important as the human characters. Her writing really brings to life a scenery (the swamps of North Carolina) so vividly i can see it clearly though its a place I’ve never visited. Beautiful book with an ecology storyline running throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Stars: A Journey Into Light by Matt Gaw

Essentially a book about escaping the ever pervading light pollution of the modern world, and starting to really reconnect with the natural world during the darkest periods of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep sending us your recommendations and reviews!

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